We pulled away from our moorings this morning at a bit of a bad time, just as several boats came past having come out of Hambleden Lock.
Still, we joined the convoy, taking it easy to let the cruisers get ahead and the narrowboats catch up.
Off we go.
Just around the corner is Medmenham Abbey, now a private home but established in the 12c as a Cistercian monastery. Only part of the original Abbey Church remains, incorporated in the later building.
The abbey achieved notoriety in the middle of the 18c when it was purchased by Francis Dashwood and became, for a while, the headquarters of the Hellfire Club. Drunken parties and entertainments of a dubious nature were the norm, but claims of satanism are believed to have been exaggerated. The membership was formed from the great and good of the time, Members of Parliament, minor nobles and affluent businessmen.
It was only about 15 minutes to Hurley Lock, the cruisers had gone down so we shared with a hired narrowboat, crewed by an Australian couple.
Normally we see signs that state baldly “PRIVATE. NO MOORING.”
Leaving Hurley Lock
Lots of boats moored around here…
It was less than 10 minutes downstream to Temple Lock, then we had a couple of miles to Marlow, time for a coffee.
All Saints, Bisham, stands beside the river, built of local chalk and flint.
Marlow has an impressive waterfront, the iron suspension bridge opened in 1832.
Below Marlow the river is forced to the north-east by Mount Hill, before swinging around the end of the ridge past Bourne End to Cookham.
Mount Hill ahead
Cookham Lock is at the end of a short cut, it’s a bit of a shock to be back on what is, to all intents and purposes, a canal, although short.
Cookham Lock Cut
We filled with water and emptied the rubbish and loo above the lock, then waited for several boats coming up before it was our turn to go down.
Superb steam launch Serena below Cookham
Now heading south towards Maidenhead, the river splits around several small islands.
You can pass either side of these…
Boulters Lock, on the edge of the town, was busy. We arrived behind the two cruisers we’d shared Cookham with as a lock-full was going down, then we had to wait for another squadron coming up. The lockie fitted seven in to come up…
Boulters Lock emptying
We didn’t fancy the moorings alongside the main road below the lock, so aimed for the stretch below the railway bridge. There was a bit just long enough for us, but a wide-beam coming the other way just beat us to it.
Under Maidenhead Bridge.
We’d pretty well committed to dropping down Bray lock as well, and looking for somewhere to moor near Dorney, but then a short bit of bank just above the lock was spotted and we pulled in there.
Tomorrow we’ll head into Windsor, 2 locks and about 4 miles away. If we get there around lunchtime we should have our pick of the moorings.
Hey, thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone!
Locks 5, miles 11